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I’m Coming Back

Now that I’ve given everyone enough time to give up on me, (and looking at my visitor stats, ouch), I’ve decided to get back into the blog thing. I can’t give up after eight years of writing this. I shouldn’t give up. And I must satisfy my natural need to work with words. I like writing, and I’ve missed writing. So, here I am, back in the blog business.

My life is still crazy busy — as I write this, I’m being interrupted by having to herd the boys into their showers and then their beds, wrangle the dog because she’s terrified of the thunderstorm winding up outside, pay a bill that’s on my desk, put up my clean clothes that have been sitting at the end of my bed for two days, and I need a shower after changing a stranger’s flat tire in this 100 degree heat. But hell, it’s been crazy before, all during eight years of this blog, and I managed to work in the time to write all during that. In fact, the craziness is usually what gives me the most to talk about.

Time isn’t going to magically open up for me to get back to writing, I have to forcefully pry time out of my day for it.

I’m back. Now I just need to get my audience back. I’m starting from almost zero again, just like I did eight years ago. Pass the word around, if you would, please.



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Blog Sabbatical

My life has gotten so busy in the past several months. I mean, just crazy. I often go two or three days where I don’t even get to sit at my computer at all, much less get the time to write a blog post. There’s no one thing that has changed to make our life so busy, it’s just all of everything. For instance, I’m squeezing time in right now between reloading the laundry machines and putting Calfgrit10 to bed and hustling Calfgrit14 into the shower. I’m skipping my usual workout tonight because I’m just exhausted from the weekend. Weekends are supposed to be a time to rest and recuperate from the work week! But mine seem to be when I have to try to catch up with everything that I couldn’t get to during the work week.

Every evening when I get home from work, there’s dinner to make, homework* to help with, cleaning or neatening to be done, a new dog** to train and walk, errands to be run, and a dozen little issues*** to deal with. It takes both me and Wifegrit both to keep this house and family running.

Every day I think of something I want to blog about, because I enjoy writing, and I enjoy relating my life experiences from being a dad, a geek, and a Southern good ol’ boy. But before I know it, a week has passed and I didn’t get a chance to sit down and write anything. So many interesting things to tell, so little time to tell it. And it bothers me to let this blog sit idle and stagnate for a week or two at a time.

Where this blog used to be a creative outlet, a pleasurable pastime, it’s now become a stress because I feel I’m failing to accomplish something. Every day that passes without me writing another post irks me. Really, it deep down bothers me.

So I’m going to just stop for a while. For how long a while, I don’t know. But I have too many plates spinning in the air right now, and I have to give up on at least one. This web site is more a luxury, or a hobby, than a needed thing.

Right now, as I’m writing this, I find myself wanting so much to go into detail on even just one or two things, but not having the time to do that is the whole reason I’m writing even this much.

There is no emergency or tragedy in our lives right now that is taking my time. It’s just normal life. Just normal, chaotic, crazy, whirlwind life. I’d say I need a vacation, but that would just put me behind catching up on what needs to be done.

* Homework: I have to relearn math that I haven’t work with in 20+ years. Then I have to teach the math to CG14, (because he doesn’t learn it while actually in class for some reason), and then I have to check his homework to see that he’s done it correctly.

** Dog: Yep, we have a new dog. A wonderful, happy, fun dog that we all love very much. But she needs training and exercise regularly.

*** Little issues: A drawer isn’t closing properly, the wi-fi is down, a toilet is clogged, a phone charger is missing, the washer is making a banging noise, etc., etc., etc.****

**** For example: My FTP software is not working, so I can’t upload images for this site right now. This has been a problem for weeks, but I can’t sit for more than a few minutes at a time to figure out the problem and resolve it.


P.S. If you want to read something, check out my Best of the Blog posts:

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Comment Spam

Managing a web site with a blog has shown me the craziness of comment spam. We’ve all seen email spam, and some of you may have seen comment spam on various other web sites. But what most people don’t see is the full enormity and ridiculousness of what doesn’t usually show up in comment sections. This web site is built with WordPress, and a common, (practically required), plugin for WP is Akismet. It is essentially the guardian of the comments section.

This blog is relatively minor — several hundred visitors a week. And I get 50-100 spam comments each day! I got 88 in the past 24 hours! Akismet catches them all. I go through my spam list every so often and look to see if some legitimate comment got caught in the spam filter. Occasionally I find one, but most often I give up looking through the hundreds of comments and just delete them all without checking every single one.

I understand the intention of comment spam. I understand how they’re automated and posted without any real connection to the web site. But actually seeing the spam, it boggles my mind. For instance, here is a common example of comment spam this site has received:

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I removed the 22 links in the above “comment.” This is just a post of a string of links. No sales pitch, no enticement, no trick, just a string of links. If this got past Akismet, (or whatever spam filter a site might be using), it would be an obvious string of links. Like this:

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What purpose could such a comment spam serve? Does the spammer, (the person who created the bot that runs the automated comment posting), actually expect to get visitors through such links? When such comments get past spam filters, do people actually click the links?

And then there are the spammers who seem to at least try to get past the filters. Comments like this:

Order your results by revcnalee rather than publication date (unless publication date is important to you for whatever reason). It’s so much easier to find the best articles at the top of the results page rather than having to scroll down and look for them.

There were no links in that text for me to remove. It’s just a couple of poorly written sentences with no contextual connection with the blog post it was posted to. There seems to be no purpose to that comment.

And then every once in a while, some random comment spam turns out hilarious. For instance, this:

Joann Trainer – What a great shot! You sure had quite a distance to run back and forth from. Glad to hear you had a great trip.

That comment was posted to Our Night in the ER. A post about our then 6 year old son vomiting up blood and us taking him to the Emergency Room over night, got a spam comment saying, “Glad to hear you had a great trip.” Funny.

Well, anyway. I just thought I’d give a glimpse behind the scenes of managing a web site. Spammers are weird.



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Motherboard Crash

A two week loss is what happens when a computer motherboard dies on you. My computer crashed to death Feb1. I took it in to a local shop Saturday, and they discovered the problem Tuesday. Since my computer was already three years old, the best option for “fixing” the problem was to buy a whole new computer. I made my build order with the shop, and they got the parts in Friday, and Saturday I had a new computer in my office. It took several evenings after that to reinstall and download and configure everything about this thing to get it all back up to date with all that my previous box had. And today is the first opportunity I’ve had to actually sit at the keyboard and type any kind of post.

Hopefully I can now return to regular writing, designing, and updating for this blog and t-shirt store.


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